Wendy Corsi Staub has generously offered to provide two giveaway copies of The Good Sister—one paperback and one e-book—to readers. To enter for your chance to win, simply email HBE at HartfordBooksExaminer@aol.com by no later than Friday, September 27th, at 11:59 PM EST and include “Giveaway” in the subject line. Recipients will be chosen at random.
Out tomorrow, The Good Sister is the seventh book written by the author for Harper; her previous titles represented entries in two trilogies that were released between the winters of 2010 and 2013. Staub has published more than eighty novels in a prolific career that has won her numerous accolades and resulted in repeated New York Times and USA Today bestseller status. Though most known for adult suspense, she has also written young adult, TV/movie tie-ins, and chick lit under the pseudonym Wendy Markham. A wife and mother of two, Staub lives in the suburbs of New York and colors her thrillers with the terror that exists within everyday domesticity.
As the story opens, readers are introduced to protagonist Jen Archer, who, like most parents of teenage girls, is struggling to recapture the closeness of a relationship that has grown strained. Like her mother before her, Carley is a student at the prestigious Sacred Sisters Catholic girls’ school; unlike her mother, she has been labeled an outcast and exposed to the cruelties of bullies who prey on her insecurities. Though outwardly sullen and combative, she is inwardly fragile—and her vulnerabilities are further compounded with the news that her former best friend, Nicki, has died as the result of an apparent suicide.
Unable to express her conflicted emotions to those around her, Carley takes comfort in a kindred spirit, “Angel,” who she’s met online through People Portal (a social networking site comparable to Facebook). The anonymity of the Internet coupled with Angel’s seemingly infinite acceptance has allowed her to lower the walls and reveal her innermost feelings without regard for the fact that this so-called friend is, in reality, a stranger. Meanwhile, Jen has learned some disturbing things that cause her to question the circumstances of Nicki’s death—and she is beginning to experience a nagging fear that Carley may be in danger. But from whom? And why?
Past and present events are interspersed throughout a narrative that unfolds briskly, and a rising body count and alarming coincidences serve to amplify the tension. In addition to ratcheting up a mother’s paranoia—a trademark element in the author’s books—Staub delves into the psychology of her skillfully veiled antagonist, creating both a sense of believability and understanding as to why the sins of the past have resurfaced to wreak havoc with the present. Longtime readers will be especially pleased with this offering, as it tows the line of “the same but different” expertly.
The Good Sister represents Staub at her absolute, bone-chilling best, as she’s crafted a story that’s as timely as it is terrifying. Not only does she understand a mother’s very worst fears and convey them with conviction, but she keenly grasps both the allure and the perils of social networking—the unifying theme of this book and the two that will follow it. Readers will be helpless to resist turning pages at a relentless pace only to then close the book with a feeling of satisfaction that is tempered by the realization that we are all at risk. And, as heart-rending a thought as that may be, it’s also the truth …